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This Moroccan-style tagine is a riot of colour and a symphony of flavour. Practically speaking, it’s a caterer’s dream. Roast the vegetables with whole spices ‘til sweet and tender, then stir into a rich sauce. Walk away and leave it overnight to flourish…then all that’s left to do is reheat and devour.

  • THINK AHEAD: For best results, it really must be made one day ahead. Can be made up to two days ahead. Suitable for freezing.
  • TOP TIP: This multiplies well – six x the recipe will feed 60. To make plain buttered couscous, buy “instant” or “easy-cook” couscous. Place in a large bowl and stir through some salt and cubes of butter while still dry. Pour boiling water over it just to cover. Leave for about five minutes, or until the water is absorbed, then fluff with a fork, separating all the grains. Do not leave longer or it will clump. It is difficult to make a lot of hot couscous for a crowd, so don’t worry about serving the hot tagine over room temperature couscous, as the tagine warms it through.
  • SERVE WITH: Plain Couscous
  • SERVINGS: 8–10
What you will need

The vegetables, all trimmed and cut in chunks:
300g / 11 oz. sweet potato, peeled
300g / 11 oz. carrots, peeled
300g / 11 oz. parsnips or celeriac, peeled
1 red and 1 yellow pepper
1 large fennel
1 large red onion
2 medium courgettes
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. cumin seed
1 tbsp. fennel seed
salt and pepper

For the sauce:
3 tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves chopped garlic
1 x 400g / 14 oz. tin chopped tomatoes
1 x 400g / 14 oz. tin chickpeas, drained
250ml / 9 fl. oz. / 1 cup full-bodied red wine
zest and juice of an orange
2 sticks cinnamon
12 pitted prunes, halved if large
To serve:
harissa (hot chilli paste; optional)
thick yoghurt

Cooking instructions

Preheat oven to 220 C/425 F/Gas 7. Place the seven vegetables in a roasting tin and coat with olive oil, whole cumin and fennel seed, salt and pepper. Roast until soft and caramelised, about 30 minutes, stirring once or twice.

Meanwhile, fry the garlic in olive oil. Add remaining ingredients and simmer until thick. Take off the heat and combine with the roasted vegetables. If you feel it is too thick, add a little water to achieve the desired consistency. Cover and leave in a cool place overnight. Reheat and serve with couscous (see top tip, above), harissa and yoghurt.

Celia Brooks does gastrotours in and around Portobello Road and as a former Notting Hill resident, knows the local area very well. For more recipes or information about Celia email celia@celiabrooksbrown.com or visit the website at www.celiabrooksbrown.com